Saturday, June 15, 2013

On June 13, 2013,  British Parliament backbenchers held a hearing to reflect on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq Invasion. The hearing included a great speech given by Rory Stewart, Tory MP for Penrith and The Border, in the county of Cumbria, North West England. He spoke to how the British foreign party apparatus (and the U.S.) got the war on Iraq wrong ("worst decision since the Boer War") and what should be done by way of reform. It's not just Bush and Blair, he says.  What do we need to make better foreign policy decisions?

Stewart is well qualified in his observations. He served as a senior coalition official in a province of occupied Iraq in 2003-2004. He wrote a book about that experience, The Prince of the Marshes (also published under the title Occupational Hazards). In 2002 he walked across Afghanistan, and wrote The Places in Between about that experience. He served as Executive Chairman of the Turquoise Mountain Foundation, a British charity that is active in Afghanistan and focuses on cultural development in Afghanistan. His observations are, of course, equally applicable to the U.S. If you have any interest in our foreign decision making capacity, it's well worth listening to.

His speech starts at 1h31mins of the video below.

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1 comment:

  1. "Acknowledging failure." It is a problem in all bureaucracies; public and private.
    This is especially important in light of the possibility that we are going to get involved in Syria.
    Interesting that there was such a sparse crowd since one of his points is that the British people aren't interested in Iraq.